In this interview with Olivia Juice in the heart of GRA Ikeja, we talk about how she started her juice business, challenges, and the lucrative side of the business you don’t want to miss. Excerpts
Smartpreneur: How did you start building this
amazing juice brand?
Olivia: I started juicing in my home. Just for my family. When guests would come, I would give them a bit of my pineapple and ginger, I would just do different mixes. Then, people started saying, why not take this thing out? Why not start selling it? I said I’ve never seen anybody do it, I don’t even know how to go about it, I don’t even know where to start, but I played around it for three years and eventually started selling in my church after service. I would just open my booth; sell a few bottles then after some time I stopped.
When I was doing my Masters in UNILAG, I used to carry some bottles. Before the lecturer would come in, I had finished selling. A lecturer would step into the class, and he will just see bottles of juice littered on the table, then he would ask, “Are you people having a party?” Some would say this is Olivia juice, and that was where the name came from.
Smartpreneur: What did you start with?
Olivia: I started with my kitchen blender. I bought one small juicer for 6,000, it was a “second new” product. I will not forget the exact amount because I didn’t have so much cash on me. My first market outing was with N1,000
Smartpreneur: How long have you been doing the business?
Olivia: Nine years.
Smartpreneur: What challenges have you faced?
Olivia: There have been so many challenges. The initial challenge I had when I started was electricity. You can imagine I would do about 200 bottles of juice, leave them in the freezer, the following day everything has fermented. You have to throw everything away because you don’t want to give your customers something bad. As the business started growing, I was employing more people, the challenge of staffing comes, a situation where you train and after training them, they leave. Some will leave with your money, some will even leave with your customers, but my customers eventually come back. I don’t go down on my standard. That’s what gives me an edge over my competitors.
(Begins to show the interviewer how to make a smoothie)
Smartpreneur: How lucrative is the business?
Olivia: It’s very lucrative. When I started, my start-up capital wasn’t much. I told you the first time I went to the market I bought things worth N1,000. This article has been slightly edited for clarity sake.